Hamburg Area High School students and staff rolled up their sleeves once again to donate blood to the Miller-Keystone Blood Center during the Leo Club’s Blood Drive on Feb. 9.
“I want students to see beyond themselves and find a place within the bigger picture of life and the world,” said Teresa McCarthy, Leo Club advisor. “Whether they are donating blood, building a house in Georgia for Habitat for Humanity, giving $1 to the Northern Berks Food Bank, making holiday cards for the residents at Laurel Center, walking dogs at the Humane Society, or collecting toiletries for our troops, they can help others in a multitude of ways. I don’t want them to wait to realize when one of their loved ones is in need that it’s time to donate blood or to become an organ donor. They have to think about these decisions now.”
According to a 1999 Hamburg Hawks newspaper article by Becky Carney, Hamburg High School held its first blood drive during the late 1980s after receiving a phone call from the parents of a boy who had been in a serious car accident and needed blood. The blood bank set up a bloodmobile at the school and enough blood was donated to save the boy’s life. Ever since, Hamburg High School has held blood drives.
McCarthy said that the Leo Club would host a blood drive once a year in May and then added an October drive, and about three years ago, the club added the February blood drive.
Currently, the LEO Club hosts the blood drive three times per year, October, February and May. Students and staff have the opportunity to donate during the school day while the bloodmobile is parked in the school parking lot.
“I admire all the students and staff who are brave and overcome their fear of needles to help others by donating blood,” said McCarthy.
Thomas Matthews Jr., Donor Resources Representative of Miller-Keystone Blood Center, reported that 51 students were registered to donate at the blood drive held on Feb. 9 with 104 students registered to donate blood so far this school year at Hamburg High School.
“Miller-Keystone Blood Center works with every high school in Berks County, and have had over 30 blood drives so far this school year with many more to come over the coming months,” said Matthews. “Blood drives at our high schools are crucial to a safe and adequate blood supply because they get young people involved in community service and the ever constant need of blood donation. As our Baby Boomer generation ages, these blood donors are now facing medical conditions where they no longer can donate and the next generation, can greatly help fill that void. Statistically, if someone starts donating blood in high school they are much more likely to continue to donate throughout their lifetime.”
Matthews said that the blood goes back to the Miller-Keystone Blood Center lab in Bethlehem where it is tested and prepped to go to any of the local 22 hospitals for life saving transfusion typically within 24 hours.
“Miller-Keystone Blood Center is always looking for any community organizations to host blood drives. Miller-Keystone needs 450 donors every day to keep an adequate blood supply to the local hospitals,” he said.
Community members interested in being a blood donor can contact Miller-Keystone Blood Center at www.giveapint.org or 800-223-6667.